There are different types of martial arts training available to the student that bring different things to the table dependent on what you are looking for in your Martial Arts training career. Some are more sport oriented, others are artistic in nature, some are geared towards a military and battlefield application and some are for modern day street environments. For example, two systems that are very popular today, such a Korean Tae Kwan Do, which is derived from the original Tang Soo Do and Brazilian Jujitsu (BJJ), are geared towards a competition ring and although they are excellent systems in their own right and offer tremendous training, they are sports oriented in nature with a combat element to them. Most historians attribute the origins of the arts as we understand them today to ancient India and China. Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk was alive around 5th or 6th century AD. He credited as the "transmitter" of Chan Buddhism to China. According to legend, he began training of the Buddhist monks Shaolin which led to the creation of "Shaolin Kung Fu." He is also known in Japan as Daruma.
The key in today's society is asking one's self what do I want to learn Martial arts for? What is my goal? Getting in shape? Wanting to get involved in a sport and compete? Or learn to defend yourself in a street environment?
Below is my basic breakdown of systems that should be studied based on your main goals in learning. The list below only highlights some of the more commonly taught systems, but by no means is a comprehensive list which would include hundreds of excellent systems. The key thing is that every system is good, and learning something is always better than learning nothing. Identifying the system that works best for you is only to best maximize the limited time we have in our lives, by learning that which is best for us , our lifestyles, and most importantly our goals.
From a shear health perspective Brazilian Jujitsu (BJJ) on its own is likely the most physically strenuous of the systems and your best choice if you are looking to build endurance, work out and sweat off the pounds while helping your heart and learning self-defense at the same time. It's a sport martial art with only some applications on its own to street self-defense, but it's also a serious physical workout and your best choice if weight loss and health are your goals. For BJJ I recommend one of the best schools in the area http://evolveall.com/grappling/.
Brazilian Jujitsu; Taekwondo; Muay Thai; Kickboxing; Judo, traditional boxing.
Kenpo Karate; Krav Maga; Aiki jitsu; Mixed Martial Arts (MMA- Mix of several systems hence the name); Firearms training (Handgun and Shotgun for the home), Knife Fighting Systems (Such as Silat and others); Stick fighting systems (such as Eskrima and others); Jeet Kune Do; and Wing Chun.